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17th March 2013
Sometimes we can feel like we're going round in circles in our walk with God. The Bible talks about 'strongholds' (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5) and makes it clear that it's possible to come to Christ and be saved, yet still have strongholds in our thinking that are contrary to God's truth – these are wrong thought patterns and ideas that do not line up with what the Bible says, but can dominate us and seem unbreakable.
There are various triggers that can lead to strongholds. One example is our environment – the worldview we grew up with, things we've picked up from family, friends, colleagues and our community, and words spoken over us by parents, teachers or others, which can be very powerful.
Another example is traumatic experiences: we can become gripped with depression, anger or self-pity after an awful event. God doesn't change our past, but He does set us free from it, so we don't need to live captive to it any more!
A third example is temptation – the devil has no power over us unless we give it to him, but when we repeatedly give in to temptation, strongholds can be formed as we become trapped with a sense of guilt and hopelessness.
Strongholds don't affect our eternal destiny, but they do affect our daily victory. We were designed for freedom, liberty and transformed characters, but we can live unfruitful lives for God – strongholds blind us to reality, leading us to make bad choices and end up going round in circles.
The good news is that we are in Christ: we have died to the power of sin and Satan and been raised to new life – stronghold-free life! Looking at 2 Corinthians 10 again, we read that we have been given divine weapons to demolish any pattern of thinking that is contrary to the Word of God; we can take captive every thought that tries to settle that is contrary to the Word of God.
One of the ways in which we do this is by renewing our minds (Romans 12). When we are aware of sin, we repent. After seeking forgiveness, we apply willpower, discipline and prayer to habits that have become entrenched: we find out what the Bible says about the area we're struggling with and we 'carpet-bomb' our minds with God's glorious truth! As soon as we recognise a wrong thought or temptation landing in our minds, we need to kill it off.
Jesus has won our freedom and said: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)
If you would like to find out more about 'freedom appointments', please contact the church office.
To download the 'life application' questions and sermon, click here.
Posted by Paul Mann